You have completed the No Snack Challenge. What now?
45 days is over. We have come to the end of the No-Snack Challenge. What do I hope that you have gotten from the challenge?
Eating Habits have been reset.
The primary goal of this challenge was to break the habit of eating constantly throughout the day. The psychological demand to eat regularly is a demanding pattern to remove. I would hope that those of you who managed to go the majority of days without snacking now realise that going for 8-16 hours without calories does not cause your body to shut down and under perform.
Screen time has been reduced.
As I previously mentioned this was my main area of difficulty during the challenge. I still have my moments but managed to replace the screen with books and use my breakfast and lunch time to study. Dinner with my family is an easy time to be screen free. Now the challenge is complete I realise I still have a problem with too much wasted time on my phone so have reinstalled my app blocking software to track and prevent overuse.
Meal planning has been prioritised.
Yet another challenge that highlights the importance of food planning and shopping lists. At the midway point I realised that my calorie numbers were too low. I went back to Myfitnesspal and tracked a couple of days on there to establish where I needed to make changes. Upping my calories and ensuring I was hitting my protein and fat numbers each day made a huge difference to my ability to comply and also my performance in workouts.
Body composition has improved.
Tomorrow I will be checking my body composition. I am not sure how much mine has changed if at all during the challenge but will be interested to see the numbers. I know that my weight is the same so whether body fat is reduced will be interesting.
What if it has not improved?
My expectations from this challenge is that some of you will see a substantial change in your bodyfat whereas other may see nothing. The reason for this is that losing weight comes down to several factors:
- Meal timings (the challenge)
- Calorie intake/expenditure – Have we replaced all our calories we were snacking on between meals by eating larger portions at mealtimes
- Macronutrient balance – Are we eating 1/3 of protein, fats and carbs or are carbohydrates still the primary energy source.
- Glycaemic Load of meals – Our meals made up of high GI foods such as starches and sugars?
- Fibre intake – Related to the above factor this can affect GI of food and how we digest our meals. (More on this to come for our next nutrition challenge!)
- Training and activity volume/intensity – How much and how hard and consistent has your training been inside and outside of CrossFit Chiltern.
- Sleep – A hugely neglected factor for fat loss. Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels. Cortisol increases your insulin resistance meaning that your body will produce more insulin and store more body fat. Studies have shown that even one night of fewer than 6 hours sleep can put people into a pre-diabetic state. If you are not sleeping enough then your body will store more fat and you will find it almost impossible to reduce your bodyfat. Also lack of sleep lowers testosterone levels (see below for more info!)
- Excess alcohol intake – Although alcohol was allowed on the challenge it will inhibit your ability to burn fat. It affects sleep and your hormone levels especially testosterone. Lowered testosterone in both men AND women will hinder your ability to grow lean tissue and burn body fat. There is a reason that testosterone is taken by bodybuilders whose goal is to burn fat and grow muscle, it works! Improve your sleep and reduce alcohol intake to improve performance.
As you can see there are a lot of factors at play for fat loss. This challenge was taking on one of the bigger ones and our other 3 nutrition challenges through the year will build habits to improve the other areas. As you can imagine running a nutrition challenge to work on all of the above would be hugely overwhelming. Therefore we take the fundamental areas and build in layers. These challenges will be repeated each year and I will make some changes from what I learn from each one. As some of you did already in our No BS challenge each year you can add more to the challenges to create better habits.
Each nutrition challenge you complete is a step on the journey. These are all about educating yourself to make long-term changes to your eating habits and it is these changes that will bring about long-term results that will stay with you. I am excited to hear your feedback and answer any questions you have.
Congratulations to all you who participated, and I assure you that I am always learning from running these and I am excited to being preparing for our final Nutrition challenge of 2020!